The Borgata Resort and Casino in Atlantic City is used to drawing huge crowds for its frequent poker tournament series. The property managed to outdo even itself at this year’s Borgata Winter Poker Open though.
The opening event for the January series drew 5,512 entries in the $560 buy-in event. The prize pool came in at almost $2.7 million.
The event managed to draw WSOP kind of numbers thanks to a $2 million guarantee. The five starting flights and re-entry option also helped boost the number to the biggest field size Borgata has ever hosted.
Top seven finishers each earned $150,000
Thanks to a seven-way deal at the final table, the top finishers each took home an impressive payday of at least $150,000.
The biggest payday went to Aristoteles Neto, who earned over $216,000 and the official “victory” in the event for having the most chips at the time of the chop. Neto previously won the PPC Aruba Main Event in 2014 for $62,000.
The rest of the chop payouts are as follows:
- Robert Nguyen – $205,048
- Ralph Macri – $204,773
- Ilya Dyment – $180,000
- Marlon Pagharion – $171,946
- Moe Farah – $171,244
- Juan Neito Rodriguez – $153,832
Top 500 finishers made the money
The large field meant a large number of paydays. The top 500 finishers all made the money in the tournament. A minimum cash was worth $1,109.
Some notable names who cashed in the tournament include Esther Taylor-Brady, Shawn Cunix, Tom Cannuli, Paul Volpe, Matt Stout, and Scott Baumstein.
Eighth-place finisher Laurence O’Halloran collected $47,000 and change for his finish. The final seven then agreed to a chip-chop, which gave each of them more than three times that.
Biggest prize pool of the series still to come
No tournament will have the bang for your buck the opening event of the Winter Poker Open did, but the Main Event will likely end up with a bigger prize pool.
The World Poker Tour-branded main event typically draws close to a thousand players and features a $3,500 buy-in and a $3 million guarantee. The total number of entries this year eclipsed 1,300.
Last year the event drew 1,171 entries with a $3.75 million prize pool.
Three years ago, the Borgata was in hot water with the NJ Department of Gaming Enforcement and the poker community after the opening event of the Winter Poker Open was compromised after Christian Lusardi introduced a substantial number of counterfeit chips into play.
The event was paused with 27 players remaining and later canceled. Despite the dark mark on Borgata’s resume, the record numbers show the casino managed to bounce back from the unfortunate event just fine.